How might Kickstarter, the crowdfunding platform, be used by religious organizations? Generally speaking, Kickstarter hasn’t been taken up much by churches or church-related non-profits (or, when it is, the projects are poorly put-together and stand no chance of getting funded). But now the always-innovating Broad Street Ministry is giving Kickstarter a shot. They may have the ingredients for a delicious success.
Broad Street Ministry is venturing to partner with Federal Donuts, a chicken and donut restaurant in Philadelphia. The idea is pretty simple,
We want to use high-quality chicken backs & bones that would go to waste…
… to make delicious soup to sell
… and donate 100% of our profits to [Broad Street Ministry] dedicated to helping those in need
The Kickstarter funding will be the startup capital to set up the restaurant that will benefit Broad Street. Yes, that’s right: all the profits then go to Broadstreet!
This project stands out to me for a few reasons. First, Broad Street Ministry (a church, and a lot more) partnering with a successful, hip, for-profit business is pretty awesome.
Second, Kickstarter campaigns usually seek to fund wholly new ideas with untested leadership. But since this project will go to support the smart folks already success with Federal Donuts, there’s a stronger trust factor here than usually available for Kickstarter projects.
As I wrote back in March for Presbyterians Today, Kickstarter helps backers receive “a thrill in helping create something new, something that otherwise wouldn’t have existed.” It also helps build new strong connections—in this case to Broad Street, Federal Donuts, Philly’s marginalized homeless neighbors, and to the maybe-new Rooster Soup Company.
This month, I’ll be working further on a paper I’m presenting in August at the International Society for Media, and Religion and Culture conference in England. The paper, “Analyzing the Spiritual Rhetoric of Kickstarter.com in Theory and Practice” considers what classifies as spiritual rhetoric and whether Kickstarter, a secular for-profit platform, allows for particularly spiritual language and connections. I’ll share more about the paper in August, but this project needs your help today.
Together, Broad Street and Federal Donuts’ innovative leaders are making it easy to bring something cool, helpful, giving, and tasty into the world. Who doesn’t like soup, donuts, and providing food to the hungry? Back it now!